Jason Holder Urges West Indies To Take Inspiration From Draw
West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder believes that the hard-fought draw against England in the first Test in Antigua will give his side the much needed boost for the rest of the series.
Holder whose maiden Test century was the cornerstone of the West Indies resistance late on the fifth day dwelt on the significance of the result.
“Obviously this means a lot to us,” said Holder.
“Psychologically too it keeps us in good shape for the rest of the series.”
With two more Tests left in the series, the lanky 23-year-old hopes that his team will carry forward the momentum gained from the result.
“It will do good for the confidence for us going into the next Test.
“This will push the belief in the side as we look to win the series.”
Holder walked to the crease at the fall of first innings centurion Jermaine Blackwood’s dismissal with West Indies reeling at 189 for six in the 80th over.
However, a 105-run partnership between skipper Denesh Ramdin and Holder enabled the hosts to stage a recovery with the duo consuming 193 deliveries in the process.
Elaborating on the significance of the partnership, Holder underlined the importance of grinding the opposition which he felt was the need of the hour especially with the second new ball looming.
“It was important we got a partnership.
“The main thing was to spend time in the middle and it would get easier.
“The English bowlers obviously had a tough workload in the first innings and my aim was to just get through the second new ball.”
Although it took a superhuman effort from the lower-order to take West Indies to safety, Holder claims he always believed the task was achievable.
With the track not having any demons in it, Holder stated that the only thing his side needed at that point was for their batsmen to show some application.
“Personally I had a belief that we could save the game right from the time I went out to bat.
“We just needed someone to stay out there.
“Partnership with Denesh was obviously crucial for us.”
Holder was all praise for his captain whose gritty 141-ball 57 started the resistance along with Holder as the pair set about blunting the opposition.
Although Ramdin was dismissed by a peach from Anderson to become the latter’s record-breaking 384th Test wicket, he had done an admirable job.
“It was really good to see the way he played.
“Unfortunately he got a good delivery but that’s cricket.
“Hats off to Roach too for the innings he played under such pressure.”
Holder felt that as their partnership progressed, it instilled a sense of belief in his team to be able to save the game.
Ramdin’s dismissal spurred the English bowlers to target the tail which Holder believes allowed him to settle down at the crease.
“Obviously when we got the partnership going, we started to believe.
“When Denesh got out, the focus got away from me.
“It was about getting me off strike from then on.
“The English obviously set some attacking fields as they needed to take wickets.
“So, that opened up scoring opportunities but it was crucial that we didn’t play any rash shots.”
Holder who hadn’t compiled a first-class hundred before his valiant 149-ball 103, conceded being sentimental on reaching the landmark.
“Honestly, there was a lot of emotion.
“I just thanked God and this is was for my grandfather who passed away few years ago.
“I am a huge fan of Nelson Mandela and I just kept my calm thereafter to keep myself at peace.”
Despite having achieved such a special landmark, Holder stated that he was fully aware of the bigger picture of the game at that moment.
“Obviously there was still some work to do at that point.
“I just had to buckle down and focus on the remaining overs left in the match.”
When Ramdin was dismissed, West Indies still had another 18.4 overs to survive with just the tail to accompany Holder.
However, Roach dug in consuming 55 deliveries for his unbeaten 15 as he hung in there to put on a vital 56-run partnership with Holder that settled the issue for West Indies.
Reflecting on the result, Holder expressed happiness at having accomplished the task and was all praise for Roach’s determination at the crease.
“Thankfully, it all came out well and we managed to save the Test.
“Credit to Roach for the way he batted under such pressure.”
Referring to the pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium, Holder felt that the surface was a nightmare for the bowlers due to its docile nature.
The pace bowlers in particular struggled as the match went on with just eight wickets taken by pacers in the last two innings of the match.
“It was tough work on the pitch.
“The track was easy-paced and the batsmen had enough time to play their shots and adjust.
“Once you got in, it became easier as you spent more time at the crease.”
The second Test of the series will begin on 21st April in Grenada.
© Cricket World 2015